How to Find an Accountant for a Small Business: Factors to Consider

How to Find an Accountant for a Small Business: Factors to Consider

Many Canadians dream of running their own small businesses thanks to the flexibility and autonomy they bring. However, many people underestimate exactly what goes into running a business, especially on the accounting side. Keeping track of revenues, debts, payroll, and other financial information is crucially important for operating a financially solvent and healthy business. 

As such, it’s almost always in a small business owner’s best interest to hire an accountant. With that in mind, the team at Group Enroll presents these tips on how to find an accountant for small business. We will discuss why you should hire an accountant and how to find the right one for the job.

Table of Contents

Does My Business Need an Accountant?

Strictly speaking, there is no law requiring small businesses to have an accountant. Many small businesses, especially sole proprietors, operate without an accountant and personally handle their finances. 

In fact, only about 30% of Canadian small businesses choose to work with an account. However, there are a lot of benefits to hiring an accountant, even for small businesses.

Tax Planning

Budgeting and Cash Flow



Save Time

Accountant vs Bookkeeper

People often use “accountant” and “bookkeeper” interchangeably, but they have different roles and do different things. 

Bookkeepers primarily focus on recording routine transactions like sales and revenue, whereas accountants focus on a top-down view of financials that includes more analysis and extrapolation. 

In other words, bookkeepers take records of finances, and accountants can tell you what those records mean for your business. Accountants might perform some bookkeeping duties, but their core purpose is for higher-level analysis and regulatory compliance.

How to Pick the Right Accountant for Your Business

Below are some categories to consider for how to find an accountant for small businesses.

Review Qualifications

Choose Between an Accounting Firm or Employee

Use Referrals

Fill the Gaps in Your Software Setup

Look for a Proactive Accountant

Consider Pricing Structure

How to Find an Accountant for Your Small Business: Potential Red Flags

Some accountants may have the right credentials but not be the right person for the job. Be on the lookout for any of the following red flags when searching for an accountant. 

  • Be wary of any promises that seem too good to be true. For instance, an accountant might promise a large return before even looking at your taxes. Accountants can’t promise things like that, so they are most likely being dishonest. 
  • A major red flag is an accountant who tells you to exaggerate or embellish financial information. A competent accountant can find legal tax breaks and loopholes while using accurate and truthful information. 
  • Avoid accountants who charge fees on a sliding scale based on the size of your refund. Stick with professionals who charge a set hourly rate or a flat fee for services. 
  • Accountants should never ask to handle company money directly.
  • Accountants have to interpret existing tax law to do their jobs, but Canadian law forbids accountants from offering explicit legal advice. If you are not sure about certain legal issues with taxes or finances, speak to a tax attorney. 
  • Canadian law requires all certified accountants to hold professional liability insurance in case they make a mistake. If your prospective accountants can’t provide proof of liability insurance, you should look elsewhere. 
  • Your accountant should keep you in the loop about finances at all times. They should ask you questions about your business and notify you to check important documents like tax returns. 

Picking a trusted accountant is about more than getting the maximum tax refund. Failing to report revenue can incur harsh financial and legal penalties. A competent accountant can ensure that you maintain regulatory compliance with all financial reporting requirements. The trick to how to find an accountant for a small business is finding someone you can trust.


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